Re-energise your teaching with the Sci-Arts Creative Teaching Resource

Design and populate your own alien planet, choreograph your way into the intricacies of protons and electrons, explore a big scientific idea through a live art installation – these are just some of the activities available within the new online Sci-Arts Creative Teaching Resource which went live recently.

Developed by a team including experts from the University of Exeter, Science and Technology Facilities Council and the University of Birmingham, the resource supports creative science teaching practice. It not only helps teachers engage learners with science, but it also helps them to develop learners’ creativity - and their own creativity in teaching science.

The resource has grown from the EU-funded project CREATIONS which developed artsbased creative approaches to science education across 11 countries. Project materials created by researchers, teachers and other educators across the EU have now been honed for use in UK classrooms for students aged from 7 – 18 years, supporting teaching and learning that is rich in both knowledge and creative opportunities.

The resource is based on eight features of creative science education which were identifed by the CREATIONS team:

  1. Dialogue – between learners, teachers, scientists and artists
  2. Transdisciplinarity – bringing together ideas and processes from different disciplines
  3. Individual, collaborative and communal activities for change
  4. Balance and navigation – balancing structure and freedom
  5. Empowerment and agency – empowering students and giving them appropriate agency
  6. Risk, immersion and play – space to make mistakes, get engaged and have fun
  7. Possibilities – what if?
  8. Ethics and trusteeship – considering implications and impacts of science and related learning

By providing a series of tools that teachers can use to plan their own creative science-arts projects, the resource supports busy teachers to take a creative approach, raising questions such as:

  • How can we find ways to use the different knowledge and processes of the sciences and the arts to solve common problems?
  • In your teaching, how can you allow for problem-finding, exploring, reasoning, reflecting, questioning and experimenting?
  • How can you mix learning key concepts and facts with knowing how to experiment, how to make art, and helping you and your students recognise feelings and emotions in all of this?

A set of 12 tried-and-tested teaching guides provides exemplars of the eight creative features in action and supports teachers in using creative pedagogies as part of their curriculum sequence. Each is a printable one-page overview, colour-coded to highlight the creative science teaching features. They also contain links to contextual information, or teaching materials that have been created by other teachers on the project. The Sci-Arts Creative Teaching Resource is free for schools to access, thanks to funding from the University of Exeter ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. So, go ahead and download it now to start getting creative with your planning.

The teaching guides

These are all based on projects that have taken place in UK schools, often developed in conjunction with classroom teachers. Titles include:

  • The Artful Physics Competition: challenging learners to present key concepts in physics to their peers through an art form of their choice
  • Crater Investigation: using the story of meteorite and impact craters to engage learners in creating, designing and reporting their own scientific investigation
  • Life in Science: bringing theory to life by linking key discoveries to individual scientists and their social / historical context.

The project team are interested to hear how you use it either on Twitter using the #SciArtsEdu hashtag or by contacting Dr Kerry Chappell via k.a.chappell@exeter.ac.uk

EU-funded project CREATIONS (Grant Agreement No.66517; www.creations-project.eu)
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